This week, I have had the chance to read two sneak peeks of books released this spring, sent to me by the publishers via NetGalley. Both are young adult books with female leads, but beyond that, they are very different. As these are just sneak peeks of the first few chapters, rather than a review of a full book, the reviews will be slightly shorter than normal as I do not know how the books progress beyond the chapters I read.
Title: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: 5th April 2016
The Glittering Court is the first in a new series by Richelle Mead. The court in question is an academy which takes young women from less fortunate backgrounds and turns them into suitable brides for the nouveau riche in recently colonised land. The main character, Adelaide, is from a family of old money, but joins the court to escape a life she could not possibly enjoy but winds up falling for the man who brought her to the Court in the first place – Cedric Thorn.
I will admit, if I had received only the first two to three chapters of this book, the rating would have been much lower. I found the whole set up of Adelaide getting engaged, learning about the Glittering Court and then joining it to be very convoluted and contrived. It just felt very unrealistic, bordering on the ridiculous in some places, and Adelaide just came across as unlikeable and spoilt.
Once Tamsin and Mira, the two girls Adelaide teams up with, join the story and we get to the Court, I began to enjoy it a lot more. Everything felt like it slipped into place and I found myself getting very invested in the story line. There are a lot more layers than just a bunch of girls learning to be lady’s in order to get a husband. Each of the main characters has their secrets and there is a lot more at stake than just a broken heart.
I did have a lot of issues with how the concept of Court relied on, essentially, selling pretty girls to the highest bidder. But having not read the rest of the story, I am not sure how this pans out or whether it gets addressed. Looking past both that issue and the beginning of the novel, I would say it is a really entertaining story that makes you feel for the characters involved. I am curious to see how it will continue as a series as, at the moment, it feels a lot more like a stand-a-lone (Side note: I’ve just read that the sequels will just be from Tamsin and Mira’s point of views – I’m not sure how I feel about that), but it is a book I would like to read the end to.
Title: Rebel of the Sands
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Viking Books
Release Day: Out Now
Rebel of the Sands is a book which feels like a cross between a Western and Middle Eastern tale. As a result, when I first started to read it, it did feel a little jarring. That being said, however, once I got used to it, it actually works quite well in setting the tone of the book and creating a distinct world. The main character, Amani, is also trying to escape an arranged marriage – one where her misery is certain. To do this, she enters a shooting contest in order to win enough money to get her away from her town. Unfortunately for her, her plan goes awry in pretty much every way possible.
What I particularly liked about this book is that, in just the first few chapters, the world already feels very built up, I could tell who the principle characters are, yet I have no idea where it is headed. The mythology of djinn, as mentioned on the blurb, is set up to play a part later on, so that you are already grounded with the characters without the fantastical elements taking over.
I did find the writing style a little difficult to get into, but this could have been due to the way it appeared on my kindle screen and that I had just finished another book of a different style just before starting Rebel of the Sands. As I only got the first few chapters of the book, it was a little difficult to get a full appreciation of the novel and how the characters and writing develops. I did find, however, that my curiosity has been piqued for this world and what else I can learn about it, as well as where Amani’s path is leading her. Not to mention, I absolutely love the cover.